Skip to main content

Full text of "The Art of the Bible: the Bible as art"

See other formats

Itfje Art of tfie Bi6fe 
tT()e M>fe as Xrt 

Biblia Anglica, 31 January 1548. 1922.177. An English language translation of Erasmus's popular commentary on the New Testament, this book ha 
a chain attached, so it could be secured it to a library desk. This was a common method used to prevent the theft of popular books. 

Tt6e Xrt of t()e Bi6fe 
tfic Bi6fe as Xrt 

with essays by 
Allan B. Kirsner and Julie Mellby 

Toledo Museum of Art 

Horae (Book of Hours), Northern Italian manuscript, written in Latin, between 1513 and 1521. 1957.23. A Book of Hours is a small volume containing personal prayers to be 
read throughout the day. This book was written for Pope Leo X, a member or the Medici family and a great promoter of literature, science, and the arts. 


In the mid-fifteenth century, Johann Gutenberg (ca.1400- 
1468) revolutionized the production of books and set into 
motion mass production of religious and secular literature. 
The Gutenberg Bible symbolizes the invention of printing for 
the Western world, one of mans great accomplishments. It is 
no wonder that Gutenberg was named one of the " 1 00 men 
of the millennium" by the British Broadcasting Company. 

Here in Toledo, one of the "men of the Museum's century" is 
George W. Stevens (1866-1926). He not only served as director 
of the Toledo Museum of Art but also initiated the Museum's 
stunning collection of manuscripts and printed books. He 
understood the beauty and significance of the art of the written 
and printed word and formed a collection to tell that story 
from papyrus leaves to modern day livres d'artiste. 

As we celebrate a new millennium and our own centenary, 
we honor these men with the exhibition The Art of the Bible I 
The Bible as Art. The exhibition presents some of the greatest 
treasures from the Museum's collection, including illuminated 
medieval manuscripts, an Islamic Koran, a handwritten Hebrew 
scroll, and the first printing of the King James edition of the 
Christian Bible. Our focus is on the Bible, with its many 
manifestations, translations, formats, and interpretations, as it 
presents the history of the written and printed word. For this 
exhibition, we are primarily looking at Bibles of the Western 
World, with full understanding of the significant alternatives 
that are fundamental to the cultures of Eastern Europe, the 
Middle East, and the Far East. Future exhibitions will 
highlight these other areas of our collection. 

To complement the Toledo Museum's permanent collection, we 
are grateful for several loans from the private collections of Mrs. 
Claire and Dr. Allan B. Kirsner and Dr. James G. Ravin, all of 
Toledo, Ohio. We thank them for their generous support and 
applaud the passion they have for the art of printing, a love 
cultivated through many visits to the Museum's book room 
(now the George W Stevens Gallery). Kathryn L. Beam and 

Traianos Gagos, both of the University of Michigan, Ann 
Arbor, helped coordinate the loan of a fragment from the 
University's impressive Papyrology Collection. Funding for this 
catalogue comes from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Dr. 
and Mrs. Allan B. Kirsner, Mrs. Ginger Bopp, and the Toledo 
Area Librarians Association (TALA). This diverse group of local 
and national supporters has energized the project and driven us 
to produce a lively and scholarly catalogue for the exhibition. 

The exhibition was selected by Julie Mellby, associate curator 
of graphic arts, together with Dr. Kirsner. Each has contributed 
a short essay to the catalogue. Dr. Kirsner has written a concise 
history of the Western Bible, highlighting some of the items 
in this exhibition, while Ms. Mellby tells the story of the 
book and manuscript collection at the Toledo Museum. Julie 
A. McMaster, Museum archivist, assisted in the research. The 
Reverend Robert Kirtland of the Toledo Blade reviewed much of 
the material, and his expert comments were greatly appreciated. 
The catalogue was edited by Sandra E. Knudsen, coordinator 
of publications, and beautifully designed by Rochelle Slosser 
Smith, graphic designer. 

Pete Cross, University of Toledo intern, assisted in an inventory 
of the Museum's manuscripts and printed Bibles, which has 
been mounted on the Museum's web site by Timothy A. Motz, 
educational media administrator. We hope this information, 
available at, will prove valuable to 
bibliographic researchers and book lovers in general. In addition 
to our own staff, we are also grateful to Paul Needham, Scheide 
Librarian at Princeton University and an international expert 
on early printed books and bindings, who kindly agreed to 
present a public lecture to help interpret the material on display. 
Support for this program comes from a generous donation by 
the Museum Library League. 

Finally, we are indebted to George W. Stevens. His enthusiasm, 
vision, and accomplishments still inspire us to cultivate the 
extraordinary arts of the written and printed word. 

Roger M. Berkowitz 

The Toledo Museum of Art's book room, about 1940. This photograph was taken inside the gallery that visitors called the "book room." Here the Toledo Museum's finest books, 
manuscripts, and scrolls were kept on permanent view for more than sixty years. If you look closely, you will see many great examples of fifteenth-century printing, including two 
pages from a Gutenberg Bible and an engraved portrait of Shakespeare in the 1632 second folio. 

t()e Xrta of Writing cm5 printing at tfie tofe5o yOuszum of Xrt 

It is the aim of our Museum some day to tell perfectly the story of 
printing, engraving, and illustrating, from the ancient days of the 
clay tablet, down through papyri, vellum, the handwritten books, 
incunabula, the early engraving on wood and copper, etching, 
printing and book making in all its steps. ' 

More than anyone else, it was George W. Stevens, the second 
director of the Toledo Museum of Art from 1903 to 1926, 
who was responsible for the acquisition, development, and 
interpretation of the Museum's collection of rare books and 
manuscripts. Without formal bibliographic instruction or 
even a college degree, Stevens trained himself in the history 
and complexities of the specialized world of rare books. His 
acquisitions remain the nucleus of the collection, and his 
mission statement (printed at the top of this page) established 
our collecting philosophy that continues into the twenty-first 

Visitors to the Museum may not realize how unique this 
collection is among this country's fine art museums. Few 
institutions have shown the devotion needed to form a 
collection that ranges from the earliest clay tablets to the most 
contemporary artists' books. Stevens's successor as director, 
Blake-More Godwin, described it well: "Mr. Stevens saw in 
manuscripts and books material rich in its own right, awaiting 
the hand that would collect, display, and interpret it, making 
it interesting to the most casual visitor as well as available to 
the serious student." 2 

From the earliest days ol the Museum, Stevens planned this 
collection of books and manuscripts. The first recorded 
purchase was made in 1906: a double manuscript leaf of 

fifteenth-century Italian music. This was quickly followed in 
1907 by two rare examples of early printed books, including 
one with a beautiful woodcut frontispiece depicting the 
Adoration of the Magi. But clearly, Stevens had already 
acquired much more, because the Toledo Blade mentions a 
public exhibition that year: "The third special exhibit will tell 
the story of printing and engraving from the earliest times 
down to the present, beginning with the Assyrcan inscription 
one thousand years before Christ." 3 The exhibition generated 
a great deal of excitement and when the closing date arrived, 
the show was moved to a rear gallery, where visitors were 
promised that it would remain "as long as possible." 

When the Museum opened its new building in 1912, two 
galleries were devoted to the collection called "prints, print- 
ing, and book-making." One gallery displayed framed prints, 
and the other became affectionately known as the "book 
room." Here visitors could find the rarest and most beautiful 
objects permanently on view, including pages from the 
Gutenberg Bible, Renaissance Books of Hours with gold 
illumination, and Egyptian manuscript fragments on papyrus. 
Several generations of Toledo children have grown up visiting 
the book room and developed an appreciation for the arts of 
writing and printing. 

Over the next years, more illuminated manuscripts were 
acquired, followed by sumptuous rare bindings, and illus- 
trated first editions. Practically every month brought excep- 
tionally beautiful and indescribably rare treasures. Yet, Stevens 
did more than build a collection, he also built an audience 
for it. In 1923, Stevens instigated a campaign to have every 
member of the Museum give one dollar toward the purchase 

of a seventeenth-century second folio of the complete works 
of William Shakespeare. Dollar bills came from all over Ohio, 
Michigan, and Illinois, stirring Walter Hill, a Chicago 
collector, to donate a second early edition of Shakespeare's 

There's no telling how much more Stevens would have 
accomplished had he lived. He died in the fall of 1926. The 
following year, the Museum Board of Trustees unanimously 
voted to name a gallery in his honor. From that time forward 
there has been a George W. Stevens Gallery, devoted to the 
"logical arrangement of masterly examples... of the art of 
writing and printing. " 4 The much loved "book room" 
finally had a name. 

Unknown to the staff at the time, keeping these works on 
permanent view in the book room was causing them irrepa- 
rable harm. The intensity of the sunlight, with its unfiltered 
ultra-violet rays, and the constantly changing heat and 
humidity of the room was damaging the paper, fading the 
colors, and causing the bound books to contract and expand, 
thereby ripping themselves apart. By the 1980s, new conser- 
vation scholarship became available concerning the care and 
preservation of works of art on paper. The Stevens Collection 
and Gallery were moved from the second floor to their 
current location in the east wing of the first floor. Cabinets 
and boxes were custom built to safely house these treasures 
away from damaging sunlight, dust, and the stress caused by 
permanent exhibition. Works from the collection are now 
rotated in thematic exhibitions for no more than three 
months, while classes and researchers can request individual 
items in the Grace J. Hitchcock Print Study Room. 

Although this new Gallery will preserve our works on paper 
for many years to come, the damage of the past cannot be 
undone. For example, for this exhibition we were fortunate to 
receive two loans of pages from the Gutenberg Bible, because 
the two leaves owned by the Museum have turned brown and 
brittle. They are available for study, but are no longer suitable 
for exhibition. In some of our rare books, it is immediately 

apparent which opening was chosen for the former book 
room exhibition because of discoloration and fading. Special 
care is given to these fragile pages to keep the deterioration 
from progressing. As we move into our second century, we 
are looking forward to having a full-time conservator on staff 
and to having the proper laboratory spaces to care for all the 
Museums treasures, so that we can share them with many 
future generations of art lovers. 

This fall marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of Stevens's 
death, and 2002 will be the anniversary of the dedication 
of the George W. Stevens Gallery. The Art of the Bible I The 
Bible as Art has been mounted to celebrate these landmarks 
by continuing the Museum's mandate to collect, display, 
and interpret treasured books and manuscripts. Many of the 
loans are thanks to Toledo collectors who were inspired by 
the Stevens collection and went on to create their own, 
personal book rooms. We are grateful for their support and 
look forward to future generations following in the distin- 
guished footsteps of George Stevens. Together, we will move 
forward into a new century of rare book and manuscript 
collecting with many great treasures yet to find. 

Julie Mellby 

Associate Curator of Graphic Arts 

1 Toledo Museum of Art Museum News, no. 40, December 1921. 

2 "The George W. Stevens Gallery," The Toledo Museum 

of Art Museum News, no. 49, April 1927. 

3 Toledo Blade, October 26, 1907. 

4 Toledo Museum of Art Museum News, no. 49, April 1927. 

y—. — — -") 

1 )nl 


' ..... 


It ; 

/J ■" 

f f 

Leaf from the Apocalypse of Saint John, German, ca. 1465. 1940.38. During the early fifteenth century, few people knew how to read, so pictures were used to teach the stories 
from the Bible. Wood blocks were carved with elaborate scenes, then printed in small, hand-colored editions called block books. This leaf depicts Revelations 1 5: 1 — 4, "the seven 
angels with the seven last plagues" on top and "the victors over the beasts sing a song of rejoicing" on the bottom. 

7 I -- — -**" 

FoiAr™fjpiu'^ cri>cm'T»ilMimf«tt 

i-t--"".^-,' tio feriuonc ctifcipts. 
^™ ^ Sacerdocuun mifW' 

■mar.-,«m<bf .vrcnffofifl MniCftl 

leutra t&tiuevlttflb 

lUKsUut fcyifrr often 
deiif m co qurts enjc 
nm fiw dcber*;vpo. 

ittuocc^phcncc ev 
cLwiutnomf iitfTmief 
aiehnc leurace rferrw^ , 
raf ojrrtidirA'r pre „ 
dicanfiornn pitc>ef 
niMnuti filiiitii za 
ir^fettnc in iwnr ajwjfi 

S^ IV^X ti-X-nioi 1mtr ^han'l>v ^tnfc; fca 

,jVl»Jj mi»«>-«.l"ti.^.iTir-iA>-,Dr.\„^ fl „ m ,„ 
'-*-( *nt ifftfrrf. lltlt'hTOO. t'.-vTr-l.- 1illlm#M.{ti 


not,,- r^>i 

mi. ]tn<j; lit 

a^»ti*-»ft«t*tir jlr 
»v* dUM umn 

01M4 T fttUJ 

I « : --v ■ 

1 hand 4nmiini 

-' n.-^tniiti ("i ,-i rv 
rmtfifiic Mtfea 

-to •_ pvtnecOvn 

fc«T pCtMtvtHHK 

lift. • J.f. *. 

Ov -;• u 

, ..V'4li*»«.<'l-.*t'''t H .v.m u«t,. tt 

rtm lurit-ii-r.p.f"**"*" »«v» ,-"'.«• pce^ 
.-n«e«r. .v'jll*--L»*tt n'»-inir.r. + ,j 
•Mi^ pviHM a»T7i !«■•** iplfWtrs In* *r*t»»» 
nu r>u.i.T4Ub|.tc4Ti»ii'HMf rfrnf^tfT 
filv «.q*M o* hf &irtnt *rf*tn 
Mjr»:iHMrt.idi»ii«.i-f".t-*Nf if" liUnc 

ItMwi**' f*M}J fT.'nip b I'lttifi&W-.l If !UI 

Jui'l MflOI'd. I»\"or'.Vi i>*aJi('i..(i«At 

(ithil im am1tm m r* !W fr~inmf*ff 
&rCoKrnmf.Xxm*te nti nw*piw».fw ftw 

nwlVa tifripun'.'^rpo *rtyw»C*rtora &* 
(i:ir..i.iZ.>7iM«'»!-p«|jfT; eu*-itnf.I't[ !rV" 

*fit. Mitel" (t'm!«|: Xt.inr'C-" S*r ifirffpAff 

? *u*nu'tif* p in6icni iii«tj»u tfCKUtap (rmtr* 

.j'ltir'Mw'^MtvcrpcTtTTr-'fK OfBinnnw , 
p4*3rJlfi«trl'cat*Tranf ItUXIIpb^C' 

pIlHll IKT-Ktl'lHfl'^. 


ui>.fi/n-l. Olai 

l"(| bnnwui epi.TDutt. 1 l<-t>ir<w 

o cnu^firr pAM4w*rinrJnMi- 
ouniifit ni Jifni W ajj*f "- 1 *'; $*''•.£■*" e,:i 

ffciTOctr^O^wAf-i'iantirr^t*- -fldfnn i« ""C 
<<'.'tj'.-r?»t*c ttiiir. i»»atv',i&i-n"3 p'fi^'^.ifrt-ononr^ftfrtr^ p«n» 

Gospels of Matthew and Mark, Northern French manuscript, written in Latin, before 1 130. Lent by Claire and Allan B. Kirsner. In the late eleventh and twelfth centuries, the 
Bible text was often handwritten in a single column at the center of the page surrounded by commentary or the "gloss." This commentary is rrom the writings of the Venerable 
Bede, the first English historian, and Saint Jerome. 

lt(je €arfy Bi6fe in t()e West 

The Language and Format of the Bible 

The earliest Bibles were scrolls rather than bound books, 
handwritten in Hebrew on animal skin or papyrus. Until the 
beginning of the fourth century, the Bible was not a single 
book but a collection of books, and one scroll usually con- 
tained one or several books from the Bible. The oldest portion 
of the Hebrew Bible contains the first five books, which we 
now call the Pentateuch. Written by many scholars over many 
generations, the Pentateuch reached the form we know today 
in about 400 b.c.e. The oldest existing copy of a complete 
Old Testament book is a Book of Isaiah, found in 1947 in a 
cave near the Dead Sea. Handwritten in Hebrew, it dates 
from around the second century b.c.e. 

The Hebrew Bible has come down to us as a remarkably 
unchanged book. Vowels were incorporated into the text 
during the seventh century and commentary was added 
between the fifth and eighth centuries by Masoretic scholars, 
but the Torah (the Law) that is still read in Hebrew each 
Saturday morning in synagogues around the world has a text 
that has been standardized for over two thousand years. This 
is the result of generations of scribes maintaining meticulous 
standards to attain stability in the text. 

The earliest known New Testaments were written in Greek 
on scrolls. However, early in the development of Christianity 
the codex (a book with separate sheets sewn along one edge) 
became the dominant format for the Christian Bible. Because 
Christ was born into the Roman Empire, both the New and 
Old Testaments were soon translated into Latin, and as 
Christianity spread across the Western provinces of the 
Empire, the number of translations multiplied. With each 

translation, revisions were common and so, unlike the 
Hebrew Old Testament, the text of the Latin Bible differed 
from copy to copy. 

In the fourth century, the books of the Bible were combined 
into one great codex. Three copies survive, all written in 
Greek and all probably originating in the Eastern Mediterra- 
nean, or perhaps Egypt. One is now in the Vatican Library 
and the other two are in the British Library Unlike the 
uniform Hebrew Old Testament, these three codex Bibles 
differ in the books that were included, as well as in the order 
of the books. 

As the fourth century came to an end, the lack of standardiza- 
tion in the "Old Latin" Bibles, as they were known, was 
addressed by Pope Damasus I. He asked his secretary Jerome 
(340?-420) to revise and, in part, retranslate the Bible to 
create a single standardized text. Saint Jerome worked for over 
twenty years, finishing his Latin revision in 404. This Bible 
came to be known as the Vulgate (from the Latin vulgata 
editio meaning "common edition") and over the centuries 
became the standard Latin text of the Roman Catholic 
Church. The Vulgate was officially sanctioned in 1 546 at the 
Council of Trent. The prologue to the Vulgate Bible is a letter 
from Saint Jerome that begins "Frater Ambrosius," making 
the first illuminated letter of the Vulgate an "F" (see cover 
image). Often, as in this exhibitions Ulm Bible, an author 
portrait of Saint Jerome is incorporated into the decoration of 
the letter. Jerome's translation was one of the models on 
which medieval Latin was based, and the first of three 
translations to have a major influence on the development of 
European languages. 

Letter Forms: From Scribes to Printers 

In 768 Charlemagne (742-814) became King of the Franks 
and established his court at Aix-la-Chapelle (Aachen). He 
asked Alcuin of York (735-804) to revise the educational 
system. One result was the development of a standard script. 
We call the thin rounded script that was used over the next 
three centuries in Gospel Books, Lectionaries, and other 
religious works Carolingian miniscule. It also was the secular 
script of the Carolingian Empire and became the script of 
the Italian Humanists of the fifteenth century. 

The twelfth century was a time of transition. The Carolingian 
miniscule script was thickened and compressed into the 
Romanesque or proto-Gothic letter. Large and lavishly 
decorated Bibles using the Romanesque script were produced, 
some with notes and commentary added to the margins. In 
addition, a great many individual Bible books were produced 
with extensive commentary surrounding the text. These 
commentaries were called the gloss, and the books are known 
as "glossed Bibles." In the late eleventh century, Anselm of 
Laon, his brother Ralph, and many of their pupils at the 

Leaf from BibliaTeutonica, also called the Seventh German Bible, 1478-1479. Lent by Claire and Allan B. Kirsner. This woodcut, by the "Master of the Cologne Bibles," shows a 
scene from Numbers 35:1, "In the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho, the Lord spoke to Moses." Anton Koberger, the great Nuremberg printer, used the same blocks in 1483 
for his own German edition. 

Cathedral School at Laon collected and codified the teachings 
of the great biblical commentators of the past and developed 
the "Ordinary Glosse." 

In twelfth-century glossed Bibles, the main text was usually 
written in a single column at the center of the page using a 
Romanesque script. Between the lines, in a much smaller 
hand, the interlinear gloss would be written, while marginal 
glosses were fitted into the wide margins around the column. 
The Glossed Bible was the outstanding achievement of the 
northern French Cathedral Schools of this period. 

By the beginning of the thirteenth century, the Romanesque 
script was compressed into a vertical and thickened Gothic 
letter. The multi-volume glossed format of the previous 
century gave way to the single volume Bible. Produced in 
Paris and northern France, the revised Bibles became known 
as the "University" or "Paris" Bibles. The Paris Vulgate Bible 
was smaller than previous versions. In it there was standard- 
ization of the prologues and text as well as agreement to the 
order of the books. Most importantly, standard chapters 
were established in each book. So many of these Bibles were 
written that production fell off for the next 150 years. It was 
not until the development of the printing press in Europe 
that large numbers of Bibles again began to appear. 

The Early Printed Bible 

Johann Gutenberg (ca. 1400-1468), with the financial help 
of Johann Fust and the technical assistance of Peter Schoffer, 
developed the use of movable type lor the printing of books 
in Europe. Although the facts concerning Gutenberg's life are 
sketchy, it is likely that he worked on this printing process in 
Strasbourg during the 1430s and 1440s. What is certain is 
that the first large printed book, the Gutenberg Bible, was 
completed in the early 1450s in Mainz, Germany. This large 
folio edition of the Vulgate text was printed in a thick, 
pointed Gothic type, using one of the thirteenth-century 
Paris Bibles as a model. Over the next twenty-five years, 
similar Bibles were printed in Strasbourg, Cologne, 
Nuremberg, and Basle. 

Albrecht Diirer, Saint Jerome in His Study, 1514. 1981.202. In this engraving, Diirer 
shows Saint Jerome at his desk writing. Jerome was the translator of the Vulgate or 
common edition of the medieval Bible and is usually portrayed as a writer. Early in 
Durer's career, he worked as a book illustrator for the German publisher Anton 
Koberger and was keenly aware of the importance of Jerome's accomplishments. 


In the last quarter of the fifteenth century, it was common to 
illustrate the Bible with woodcuts, often with brilliant hand 
coloring. The most important of these illustrated Bibles was 
printed in Cologne in 1479. The same wood blocks were 
used several years later by the great publisher, Anton Koberger 
(1440-1513) to print his 1483 Bible, which influenced 
several generations of Bible illustrators. 

The Great Translations 

For a thousand years, the Bible of Western Christendom 
was the Vulgate of Saint Jerome. It was decorated, modified, 
glosses were added, biblical concordances and dictionaries 
were written, but always the basic text was aint Jerome's. 
All or this was to change with the birth of Humanism. 
The scholars of the Renaissance sought to study the classic 
texts of Greece and Rome in their original languages. This 
scholarship carried over to religious texts, and desire grew 
to read the Old Testament in its original Hebrew and the 
New Testament in its original Greek. 

Erasmus (1466?- 1536) of Rotterdam compiled what 
would be the first published New Testament in Greek. 
It was accompanied by a new translation into Latin and 
was printed in 1516 by Johann Froben of Basle. Another 
scholar and humanist, Aldus Manutius had also been working 
on a Greek Bible in Venice. When he died in 1515, his 
father-in-law Andrea Asolano finished the project and Aldine 
Press published the first complete Bible in Greek in 1518. 

The first Bible in a modern language, German, was printed 
in 1466 by Johann Mentlin, the first printer of Strasbourg. 
Martin Luther's translation of the New Testament into High 
German, printed in September 1522, was a defining moment 
for the Reformation. Luther went on to translate the com- 
plete Old Testament into High German, thus effectively 
fixing High German as the national language of the German 
states. His Bible, illustrated by Lucas Cranach and reprinted 
in many editions, is considered to be one of the great master- 
pieces of the German language. 

The first English language Bibles were handwritten in a 
Gothic script in the late thirteenth century by John Wycliffe 
and his followers. Although the Venerable Bede was said to 
have translated the Gospel of Saint John into English before 
735, nothing of this manuscript has survived. However, it 
was William Tyndale (1494-1536) who first translated the 
Bible into an English that would be recognized by the 
modern reader. Tyndale was an outstanding scholar, and 
much of the beauty and poetry of the English Bible, and thus 
of the English language, come directly from his translation. 
The partial Tyndale Bible was followed by the first complete 
Bible in English, translated by Miles Coverdale and printed 
in 1535. Many variations followed, culminating in the 
authorized version of 161 1, which we know as the King James 
Bible. This Bible, which incorporated much of the work of 
Tyndale and others, remains the standard by which Bible 
translations into English are judged. Along with aint Jerome's 
Vulgate Bible and Martin Luther's High German Bible, the 
King James edition had a major influence on the development 
of language. 

Allan B. Kirsner, M.D. 
May 2001 


Biblia Anglica also called the King 
James Bible, 1611. 1954.34. Most 
copies of the fitst edition of the 
King James Bible have an engfaved 
title page by Cornells Boel. Toledo's 
copy has an elaborate woodcut 
border instead that depicts the four 
Evangelists writing their Gospels, 
flanked by the tents of the twelve 
tribes ot Israel and the twelve 
disciples. This cover border was 
used tor only a few of the earliest 
books because the Boel engraving 
was not vet finished. 


The Book of Esther, Old Testament, late 18th- 19th centuries. 1926.90. The Book of Esther is read in its entirety during the Jewish Festival of Purim. It tells the story of a young 
girl named Hadassah, also known as Esther, and how she saves her people from an evil plot to murder all the Jews in the Persian Empire. The story, still read in its original Hebrew, 
is hill of delightful twists and extraordinary coincidences. 


€x()i6ition Cfieckfist 
in €6ronofogicaf©r5er 

Fragment from the Book of Deuteronomy 

Verso: chapter 30, verses 10-1 1, 16 

Recto: chapter 30, verses 19-20; chapter 31, verses 3-4 

Egyptian manuscript, written in Greek, ca. 2nd century 

Lent by Papyrology Collection, Graduate Library, University 

of Michigan, Ann Arbor, inv. no. 5554 

Biblical Lectionary 

Northern Italian manuscript, written in Latin using 

Carolingian script, 10th century 

Lent by Claire and Allan B. Kirsner 

Fragment of a Lectionary 

German manuscript, written in Latin with neumes 

(musical notation), 1 1th century 

Museum Purchase, 1928.185 

Gospels of Matthew and Mark also called a Glossed Bible 

Northern French manuscript, written in Latin using 

Romanesque script, before 1130 

Gloss (commentary) surrounding the Book of Matthew 

by Ralph of Laon 

Gloss (commentary) surrounding the Book of Mark 

by Bede and Jerome 

Lent by Claire and Allan B. Kirsner 

Missal (book) cover 

French, early 13th century 

Enamel (champleve) on copper-gilt, mounted on wood, central 

crucifixion with enamels in several tones; engraved and punched metal 

Purchased with funds from the Libbey Endowment, 

Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey, 1950.254 

Leaf from a Paris or University Bible 
French manuscript, written in Latin using Gothic script, 
translation by Jerome (340?-420), late 13th century 
Museum Purchase, 1953.129 (14) 

Leaf from a Psalter 

German manuscript, written in Latin using Gothic script, 

13th century 

Museum Purchase, 1953.129 (10) 

Two leaves from Biblia Latina also called the Gutenberg Bible 
Printed in Latin by Johann Gutenberg and fohann Fust, Mainz, 
Germany, 1453-55 
Lent by Claire and Allan B. Kirsner and Dr. James G. Ravin 

Leaves from Biblia Pauperum (Bible of the Poor) 

Printed in Latin from wood blocks, The Netherlands, ca. 1 460 

Lent by Claire and Allan B. Kirsner 

Leaf from the Apocalypse of Saint John 

Printed in Latin from wood blocks, hand-colored, Germany, ca. 1465 

Frederick B. Shoemaker Fund, 1940.38 

Biblia Latina 

Printed in Latin by Bernhard Richel, Basle, 1475 

Lent by Claire and Allan B. Kirsner 

Leaf from Biblia Teutonica also called the Seventh German Bible 
Printed in German by Heinrich Quentell, Cologne, 1478-79 
Commentary by Nicholas de Lyra (1270?— 1340) 
Lent by Claire and Allan B. Kirsner 

Biblia Latina also called the Ulm Bible 

Printed in Latin by Johanne Zainer, Ulm, Germany, 

29 January 1480 

Annotations written in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and German 

Binding for George Faber, 1554 

Lent by Claire and Allan B. Kirsner 

Biblia Latina 

Printed in Latin by Anton Koberger, Nuremberg, 

Germany, 14 April 1480 

Commentary by Menardus Monachus 

Lent by Claire and Allan B. Kirsner 

Biblia Latina 

Printed in Latin by Anton Koberger, Nuremberg, Germany, 1487 
Gloss (commentary) by Nicholas de Lyra (1270?-1340) 
Contemporary blind stamped, leather binding, and clasps 
Lent by Claire and Allan B. Kirsner 

Decretales cum glossa Bernardi Parmensis 

By Gregorius IX (ca. 1148-1241) 

Printed in Latin by Anton Koberger, Nuremberg, 10 March 1493 

Pastedowns are fragments from a Babylonian Talmud manuscript, 

written in a Sephardic Hebrew, 14th century 

Lent by Claire and Allan B. Kirsner 

Biblia Latina 

Printed in Latin by Simon Bevilaqua, Venice, 8 May 1498 

Woodcuts from the Malermi Bible 

Museum Purchase, 1940.18 

Opera Nova Contemplativa (Biblia Pauperum, or Bible of the Poor) 
Printed in Italian from wood blocks by Giovanni (or Zoan) Andrea 
Vavassore, Venice, ca. 1510 
Museum Purchase, 1922.58 

Horae (Book of Hours) 

Northern Italian manuscript, written in Latin for Pope Leo X, 

between 1513 and 1521 

Decorated with six miniature paintings facing six illuminated 

initials and bound in green velvet with metal clasp 

Museum Purchase, 1957.23 

AJbrecht Diirer (German, 1471-1528) 

Saint Jerome in his Study 

Engraving, 1514 

William J. Hitchcock Fund in memory of Grace J. Hitchcock, 



Printed in Greek by Andreas Asolano, Aldine Press, Venice, 1518 

Museum Purchase, 1954.36 

Horae (Book of Hours) 

Printed in Latin with French captions, published by 

Simon Vostre, Paris, 1520 

Hand illuminated initials and metal cut decorations 

George W Stevens Fund, 1967.153 

Des Erasmi Rot. Ecclesiastae sive de Ratione Concionandi 

Libri quatuor 

By Desiderius Erasmus (Dutch, 1466?— 1 536) 

Printed in Latin by Froben Press, Basle, 1535 

Binding for Jean Grolier, Vicomte d Aguisy 

Extra illustrated with engraved portrait of Erasmus 

by Albrecht Diirer (1471-1528) 

Museum Purchase, 1922.13 

Bible, New Testament 

Printed in Greek by Robert Estienne, Paris, 7 November 1 546 

Museum Purchase, 1920.44 

Biblia Anglica (Erasmus's paraphrasing or the New Testament) 
Printed in English by Edward Whitchurche, London, 
31 January 1548 
Contemporary chained binding 
Museum Purchase, 1922.177 

Psalmorum Liber (Book of Psalms) 

Printed in Greek by Christopher Plantin, Plantin Press, 

Antwerp, 1584 

Bound in the style of Le Gascon (17th century) 

Museum Purchase, 1925.4 

Biblia Anglica, New Testament also called Douai-Rheims Bible 

Printed in English by Lawrence Kellam, Douai, France, 1609-10 

Binding by Riviere 

Purchased with funds from the Libbey Endowment, 

Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey, 1946.15A 

Biblia Anglica also called the King James Bible 
Printed in English by Robert Barker, London, 1611 
Museum Purchase, 1954.34 

The New Testament of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ 

Translated into Natick (Algonquin) by John Eliot (1604-1690) 

Printed by Samuel Green and Marmaduke Johnson, Cambridge, 

Massachusetts, 1661 

Purchased with funds from the Libbey Endowment, 

Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey, 1946.16 

Hadha Kitab Qirqa Su'al AbuDer [special events and prayers, 

related to the life of Mohammed] 

By Furaqui 

Manuscript written in Turkish using Pre-Ataturk script, 

late 17th- 19th centuries 

Includes passages in Arabic from a Quran (Koran) 

Museum acquisition, 2001.15 

The Book of Esther, Old Testament 

Manuscript written in Hebrew on a scroll of vellum, 

late 18th- 19th centuries 

Rolled into an engraved silver cylinder 

Museum Purchase, 1926.90 

Quran (Koran) 

Manuscript written in Arabic, 19th century 

Bound in decorative lacquer covers 

Gift of Mr. George S. Mills, 1923.3210 


Suggeste5 3lea5ing 

Gerald P. Tyson and Sylvia S. Wagonheim (eds.). Print and Culture 
in the Renaissance: Essays on the Advent of Printing in Europe 
(Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1 986) 

Janet lng,Johann Gutenberg and his Bible (New York: Typophiles, 1988) 

A Thousand Years of the Bible (Malibu: The J. Paul Getty Museum; 
Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1991) 

Michelle P. Brown, Understanding Illuminated Manuscripts: A Guide 
to Technical Terms (Los Angeles, CA: The J. Paul Getty Museum in 
association with The British Library, 1992) 

Robin Lane Fox, The Unauthorized Version: Truth and Fiction in the Bible 
(New York: Knopf, 1992) 

Jaroslav Pelikan, The Reformation of the Bible/The Bible of the Reformation 
(New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996) 

Valerie R. Hotchkiss and Charles C. Ryrie, Formatting the Word of God 
(Dallas: Bridwell Library, 1998) 

Michael Twyman, The British Library Guide to Printing: History and 
Techniques (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1998) 

John L. Sharp III and Kimberly Van Kampen, The Bible as Book, 

The Manuscript Tradition (London: The British Library and Newcastle, 

Delaware: Oak Knoll Press, 1998) 

Paul Saenger and Kimberly Van Kampen, The Bible as Book: The First 
Printed Editions (London: The British Library and Oak Knoll Press, 1999) 

Orlaith O'SuIlivan, The Bible as Book: The Reformation (London: 
The British Libtary and Oak Knoll Press, 2000) 

John Rogerson, The Oxford Illustrated History of the Bible (Oxford: Oxford 
University Press, 2001) (Gutenberg Museum, Mainz) (University of Michigan exhibition 
by Kathryn L. Beam and Traianos Gagos, CD available) 

Published in conjunction with the exhibition "The Art of the Bible / 
The Bible as Art," held November 2, 2001 -January 27, 2002, 
at the Toledo Museum of Art. 

This book was published with the assistance of The Andrew W. Mellon 
Foundation, Dr. and Mrs. Allan B. Kirsner, Mrs. Ginger Bopp, and the Toledo 
Area Librarians Association. 


© 2001 Toledo Museum of Art 
All Rights Reserved. 

Except for legitimate excerpts customary in review of scholarly publications, 
no part of this book may be reproduced by any means without the express 
written permission of the publisher. 

The books featured in this catalogue are in the collection of the Toledo Museum of 
Art unless otherwise specified. Black-and-white photographs, color transparencies, 
color slides, and digitized images are available for rental or purchase. 

ISBN 0-935172-13-0 

Printed in the United States of America. All rights reserved under 
International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. 

The Toledo Museum of Art 

2445 Monroe Street 

P.O.Box 1013 

Toledo, Ohio 43697-1013 

Telephone (419) 255-8000 

Fax (419) 255-5638 


Associate Curaror of Graphic Arts: Julie Mellby 
Conservation Technician-Graphic Arts Assistant: Tom Loeffler 
Craphic Arts Cataloguer: Paula Reich 
Coordinator of Publications: Sandra E. Knudsen 
Photography: Robert H. Wetzler, Cleveland, Ohio, 

and Kathy Gee, Toledo Museum 
Designer: Rochelle R. Slosser Smith 
Composition: Black Wick and Adobe Caramond 
Printing: Superior Printing, Warren, Ohio 

Cover: Derail, Inirial "F" with portrait of Saint Jerome, Biblia Latina also called the 
Ulm Bible, 29 January 1480. Lent by Claire and Allan B. Kirsner. 

Title Page: Detail, Albrecht Diirer, Saint Jerome in his Study. 1514.1981.202 

Back Cover: Missal (book) cover, French, early 13th century. 1950.254